JOHN Coventry says he will look back on his lengthy East Thurrock United reign with immense pride when he steps down at the end of the season.

Coventry’s 13-season spell in charge of Rocks will come to an end following the climax of the Isthmian Premier League campaign.

And Coventry, who has been involved at the Grayers Graphics Stadium for a total of 19 years, believes it is the right time to walk away.

“Saying it was difficult to announce I would be stepping down as manager at the end of the season is an understatement,” said Coventry.

“It’s been a difficult time at the club and the last few years have been horrendous.

“Circumstances on the football side of things at the club have made it nearly impossible for me and I have been working with one hand tied behind my back.

“It’s the right time for me to walk away because of an accumulation of things during the last two years.

“More players have come and gone over the last 24 months than at any other time at the club.

“I have had to wheel and deal while taking chances on players I have no idea about.

“With what has happened, I thought I can’t do another season under the circumstances.

“I am not blaming anyone but it’s the right time for me to go.”

Coventry has enjoyed tremendous success during his time at the East Thurrock helm.

Although his achievements include guiding Rocks to the Isthmian North title in 2011, a maiden Essex Senior Cup win and into the FA Cup first round proper twice, Coventry insists one period stands out.

“It’s difficult to pinpoint my biggest highlight at the club,” added Coventry.

“My 13 seasons in charge have been the best years in the club’s history.

“There have been so many high points and a club of our size getting to the FA Cup’s first round proper was a fantastic achievement.

“We’ve also won the Essex Senior Cup for the first time in the club’s history and reached the last 16 of the FA Trophy, which was another proud moment.

“But the biggest achievement was getting East Thurrock into the National League South and staying there for three seasons.

“No-one would have thought that was possible and that makes me massively proud.”

Although Coventry’s reign is coming to an end, he insists he has not fallen out of love with football.

“Non-league football, like at all levels of the game, has changed significantly since I first arrived at East Thurrock 19 years ago,” admitted Coventry.

“I haven’t fallen out of love with football and it’s still a passion of mine.

“I want to get this group of players to the end of the season and do as well as we can.

“It would be great to end my tenure on a high.”